If you love watching sports and predicting the outcome of games, you may want to try your hand at sports betting. The good news is that you can make money from this type of wagering – but only if you have the right strategy and are willing to stick with it over the long haul.
Before you start placing wagers, you need to understand the different types of bets available. There are many options when it comes to sports betting, from straight bets to totals and everything in between.
A straight bet is the most basic form of a sports wager. It involves putting your money behind an outcome you predict will happen during a game, such as the winning team or the total number of points scored. You can also place a parlay, which combines multiple outcomes into one bet and pays out if any of them occur.
Point spreads, also known as line bets, are a way to even out the playing field between two teams that have differing odds of winning or losing. This is accomplished by giving the favorite a certain number of points to win by, while forcing the underdog to lose by that same amount.
These bets are often in increments of a half-point (.5), because oddsmakers need to account for the possibility of a tie. For example, a team might have odds of -120 against the New York Mets, which means that you have to bet 120 times the amount to win $100.
Over/Under bets, on the other hand, focus more on the overall score of a game than who will win it. These bets are often in increments like over/under 5.5, which is when the oddsmakers will set a total for a game. Then, you can bet on whether the two teams will combine for more (over) or fewer (under) runs, goals, points and so on than the total number posted by the oddsmakers.
The first thing you should do when you’re ready to start sports betting is open a dedicated bank account. You should use this to fund all of your bets, and keep a standard spreadsheet to track your wins/losses. This will help you avoid going broke or running up your credit card debt.
Another important tip is to bet with your head and not your heart. It’s easy to fall into the trap of rooting for your hometown team or betting on teams because they’re your favorites, but you need to be able to separate your emotions from the numbers in order to make smart wagers.
Finally, it’s important to remember that sports betting is not easy and that it takes time to learn the ropes. You should never bet more than you can afford to lose, and you should always walk away from bad bets. In the end, making money from sports betting is about making a lot of small, smart bets over the course of a season.